Alan meets me by the sign. “Hey Mark, it’s 5:00 not 6:00.”
Stunned into silence, I just bob my head and try to figure this out. No, look, my phone says it’s 6:15. I remember waking up at 5:35 and praying to the gods of heat and warmth to send a blessing our way, then crawled out of my bag. Okay, I may have been five or 10 minutes early, but certainly not an hour.
“Look,” said Alan, “my watch says it’s 5:15 now. I reset it when we crossed into Texas. We’re on Mountain Time.”
It hit me: my phone doesn’t know where I am because the coverage sucks. It must think I’m in Central Time. Note to self, drop my carrier. They’ve intruded on my adventure, and I’m not getting any younger. How ironic.
The 4.2-mile-hike up Guadalupe Peak, though steep, is a pleasant well-cut trail. We made our way to the top in two-and-a-half hours and never passed another soul (of course, those are lucky folks with proper time pieces).
“Just what exactly is this windy hell we’re in anyway?” I joked.
Frank, red-blooded native Texan he is, fell for it, “West Texas. You’ll get used to it.”
Speaking of Texans, the hike down took longer than going up. Let me explain that. I’m used to a different type of encounter on the trail when I pass by other hikers. It’ll go like this:
“Hi. Nice day today.”
“Yep! Have a good one.”